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Twin Cities residents awoke Friday to see they were spared the 2 feet of snow or more that fellow Minnesotans received, but now the state's urban hub is bracing for temperatures about to tumble into negative territory.

The Duluth area was blanketed Thursday with the deepest snowfall amounts, according to the National Weather Service, with North Shore towns climbing highest on winter's measuring stick.

The Weather Service tallied nine locales along or near the North Shore reporting 2 feet or more of snow: 28.2 inches about 7 miles northwest of Two Harbors was at the top of the snow heap, followed closely by Beaver Bay at 28 inches.

The Duluth and Hermantown areas grabbed the 2-foot ring, as did Chisholm on the Iron Range to the northwest.

In Duluth and surrounding areas by 4 p.m. Friday, about 300 outages affected 4,300 Minnesota Power customers. Lake Country Power was working to restore more than 500 outages affecting 8,300 in the region. Both utilities warned that it could be multiple days before power is restored.

"This is the worst winter storm we have seen on our system," said Minnesota Power executive Josh Goutermont during a news conference Friday. "If it was dry snow, we wouldn't be talking about it taking lines down."

The utility said it hopes to have power restored by Monday morning and has called in mutual aid, doubling its existing ranks. At the peak of the storm, 20,000 customers were without power, with Cloquet south to Hinckley and Nisswa up to Walker bearing the brunt.

Heath Johnson, who lives in Blackhoof Township about 30 miles south of Duluth, has been without power for more than 36 hours and has dealt with several downed trees on his driveway and a temperature of 40 degrees in his house. He recently drove to Minnesota from Florida after spending three weeks clearing trees from his property there following Hurricane Ian.

"I'm just doing the same thing all over again," he said. "And I am getting worried my house is going to freeze up."

East Central Energy, which serves 63,000 customers in eastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin, was working to restore power to 3,200 Friday afternoon, down from 12,500 initially. The hardest-hit areas were in Pine and Carlton counties, and Douglas County in Wisconsin.

Trees laden with wet, heavy snow are falling into transmission lines and breaking power poles, said Justin Jahnz, CEO of the utility.

"The issue making it difficult is a lot of damage that is not easily accessible," he said, with lines down in forestland covered in deep snow.

With 36 crews out working from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., he expects full restoration by the end of the day Saturday.

Lutsen is now coated with 18 inches of new snow for skiers to revel in, according to the Weather Service.

The Weather Service was listing nothing reaching a half foot anywhere in the Twin Cities metro area, with Hopkins falling just short at 5.5 inches and the same depth north of Northfield on the county line separating Dakota and Rice counties.

Central Minnesota was hit with a stream of wet, heavy snow. Seven inches fell in St. Cloud on Thursday, breaking the daily record for Dec. 15 of 5 inches in 1902, according to St. Cloud State meteorology Prof. Bob Weisman.

The grand snowfall total in St. Cloud since early Tuesday is 12.4 inches, which ranks 19th on the list of all-time snowstorms in St. Cloud, Weisman said.

St. Cloud joined many other of Minnesota's larger cities in declaring snow emergencies, including Minneapolis, St. Paul and numerous suburbs. Vehicle owners need to check with their municipalities about where not to park while snowplows clear streets to the curb.

The snowstorm made driving treacherous in spots all around the state Thursday and into the Friday morning commute as plows pushed aside the snow and put down chemicals to minimize slipping and sliding.

The State Patrol reported one fatality on Thursday, in Minneapolis on Hwy. 62 near S. 34th Avenue about 1:50 a.m., when an SUV drifted off the road and crashed. The driver, 39-year-old Sean P. Stout, of Bloomington, was declared dead at the scene, the patrol said.

In Minnesota's what's next department: temperatures well below zero.

Daytime highs will march steadily away from the freezing mark and toward negative territory in the Twin Cities in the coming days, the Weather Service is forecasting. The first taste of subzero temperatures is expected Monday night, with a low of 4 below, then a high on Tuesday of 3 degrees followed by a low that night of 11 below.

Staff writers Jana Hollingsworth and Jenny Berg contributed to this report.